Every time another ANC stalwart criticises the Zupta regime, we should look at their personal track record.
Joel Netshitenzhe deserves special mention for myopic hypocrisy. At a weekend meeting of one of the MK veterans’ factions, Netshitenzhe bemoaned corruption in the ANC. That’s rich, coming from one who designed and implemented a cadre deployment system tailor-made for corruption.
Cadre deployment is state capture of a special kind. Netshitenzhe and company lost control. Now he no longer likes the game which he had helped to set up.
Let’s roll back to the days when a legendary pipe-smoker had pretensions of being a philosopher king. Of course, Thabo Mbeki was a feeble philosopher and an even more implausible king. His own party dethroned him, you’ll recall.
In those hubristic times, Netshitenzhe was touted as an intellectual guru. If Hendrik Verwoerd was the architect of apartheid, Netshitenzhe conceptualised and oversaw the imposition of a different form of preferential treatment.
Although cadre deployment was ostensibly aimed at black advancement, its effect was to promote those loyal not just to the ANC but to the centre of power. Those who objected to cadre deployment were labelled racist opponents of transformation.
In 1997, Netshitenzhe outlined how transformation through cadre deployment would operate. In an ANC journal Umrabulo, he said cadre deployment meant, “extending the power of the national liberation movement over all levers of power: the army, the police, the bureaucracy, intelligence structures, the judiciary, parastatals, and agencies such as regulatory bodies, the public broadcaster, the central bank”, and so on.
Simply, it meant a complete power grab by the elite. Nearly 20 years later, going through the list recommended by Netshitenzhe, you can see what havoc has been wrought, first by Mbeki-era appointments, and more recently by patrons of a mythical Saxonwold shebeen.
With cadre deployment, there is not enough emphasis on ensuring key positions are filled by people with skills and experience. Loyalty and obedience trump all. Exactly the same applies when Zuptas embark on state capture.
Instead of having the best people, we find the pliable Des van Rooyen imposed (temporarily) as finance minister and the hapless Mbulaheni Maguvhe as SABC board chairperson, etc. Useful idiots.
Another flaw in cadre deployment is that it short circuits democracy and accountability. People in positions of huge responsibility feel no allegiance to the public or to any legislature. They listen only to their masters.
For example, MPs have routinely betrayed the public trust in order to serve the elite. Consider the arms deal and Nkandla. The same lack of democratic accountability applies to Zupta state capture, enabling people like Hlaudi Motsoeneng to cock a snook at Parliament, and Eskom’s acting CEO to lie on Carte Blanche about a R560 million gift to the Guptas.
Over the weekend, Netshitenzhe said the ANC needed to consider vetting leaders for competency. Great idea, pity he didn’t think of that when implementing cadre deployment. Competency didn’t matter then.
The Zuptas didn’t invent state capture, they simply adapted a corrupt system bequeathed to them by Netshitenzhe et al.
Merry Christmas. Noel, noel, Joel.